Pat Blythe – Blue Moon…..creative dining….snow…..and music

It’s Monday. I’m writing for Tuesday. When I realized my diatribe would appear post-election, I contacted our esteemed editor and suggested that it may make a modicum of sense for our local politico, Roxanne Tellier, to proffer her analysis and observations regarding the election, and “the morning after” effect. So I swapped days. I have my views but not nearly the insight our Mrs. Parker brings to bear on politics and the entire “goings on” south of the 49th parallel. I can just imagine the spirited discussions Chris (nicknamed The Professor) and Rox would have had regarding the spectacle of this latest presidency over the past four years. Both had/have the ability to read between the lines and proffer observations many of us don’t “see”. Research junkies the two of them…..although I’m not far behind down that rabbit hole….. Mrs. Parker and The Professor would fill a room. Chris would have fit right in at the Algonquin Round Table.

Once in a blue moon…..

A rare(ish) phenomenon…..a Blue Moon, on a Saturday, on All Hallows Eve…..sort of a perfect “storm” and just the thing to view, up on a hill, from the local graveyard. A full moon happens only once every 18-19 years on Hallowe’en. The combination of a Blue Moon coinciding with October 31, AND visible from every time zone around the world, is even rarer. You’d have to go back seventy-six years to 1944. Now, keep in mind, the moon is not actually blue. The term “blue moon” has nothing to do with the colour of the moon. Light or dust particles (such as a volcanic eruption) floating in the atmosphere can make the moon appear tinged with blue. The majority of photos showing the moon as blue or blue(ish) have been taken through filters or doctored in processing for a more dramatic effect.

“A person holding a witch’s hat watches the Blue Moon rise over Castle Hill in Huddersfield, it will be the last full moon to fall on Halloween until 2039.” (Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)

According to Dr. Philip Hiscock, the expression “once in a blue moon” has been around for more than 400 years. Hiscock, who was Associate Professor of Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland, explained, “…the earliest use of the term was much like saying the moon is made of green cheese — it indicated something absurd…the meaning evolved to something akin to “never,” according to Hiscock (who retired in 2017). “I’ll marry you when the moon turns blue” became the equivalent of “I’ll marry you when pigs fly.” So, the meaning of “once in a blue moon” changed from “never” to “rarely,” according to Hiscock.

There are actually two streams of thought regarding what a Blue Moon is, and both are correct or acceptable. The first (and older) meaning refers to a Blue Moon as the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. A season is defined as the time between a solstice and equinox. The second (and more recent meaning), a second moon is squeezed into a single month. So where did two the two interpretations come from?

To quote numerous articles, “The idea of a Blue Moon as the second full moon in a month stemmed from the March 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine, which contained an article called “Once in a Blue Moon” by James Hugh Pruett. Pruett was referring to the 1937 Maine Farmer’s Almanac, but he inadvertently simplified the definition.” Pruett wrote, “Seven times in 19 years there were – and still are – 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon.” Since there are roughly 29.5 between full moons, a bit of a tight fit into a 30- or 31-day month, this also means the month of February will never see a Blue Moon. The next seasonal Blue Moon will be August 22, 2021.

“The “blue moon”, the second full moon of a calendar month, is seen over the Valle shantytown in Caracas, on October 31, 2020.” (Photo by Federico PARRA / AFP) (Photo by FEDERICO PARRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Astrologers, tarot readers, etc. all seem to agree this sequence of events means the advent of change. The moon is a gravitational force affecting water, and humans are composed of 60% water. This gives one pause regarding how much of an effect this planet potentially has on our lives. The human breakdown….. brain and heart are 73% water; lungs about 83% water; skin contains 64% water; muscles and kidneys are 79% water and even our bones are a rather squelchy 31% water. With a very contentious, key election literally on the day this column posts, change is evident. That’s a lot of water at play here! Will the incumbent float……or sink like a rock?

“The full Blue Moon and Hunter’s Moon rises behind lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center in New York City on Halloween on October 31, 2020, as seen from Greenbrook Township, New Jersey.” (Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

As I raced around London looking for the perfect vantage point, it suddenly dawned on me; I wasn’t seeing any wee ghouls and goblins. It was a very lonely and starkly empty night. Forty-five minutes driving around and I saw one young family. Streets were eerily dark and silent. Even the Hallowe’en decorations were limp and rather forlorn looking. Houses were quiet and candlelit pumpkins were rare. I’m not sure if it was the effects of the moon or the dire and ominous warnings for people to stay indoors, but trick or treating was a bust this year. A sad commentary on life in the extreme in 2020.


I’m currently in London visiting my mom. This woman, whom I love more than life itself, has managed to survive one stubborn Yorkshireman; three uniquely different (and I’m sure challenging) daughters; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren throughout her 91 years. We celebrate this milestone on Wednesday. Every year she says there’s always snow on or around her birthday. Last year we missed that boat. This year…..we caught it!

I watched as the blizzard, yes blizzard, piled the snow everywhere. Last night was not a night I’d want to be on the highway. This morning we all woke up to a temperature of -5 and a good 2-3 inches of snow on everything…..and me with no boots.

Footprints in the Snow – Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Being the winter driving wimp that I am, I had actually phoned my mechanic about the seasonal tire swap BEFORE I left Toronto. The first snowflake to hit the ground always gets my heart racing. He assured me I won’t need winter tires until we’re well into November. Hmmmm…..should have gone with my gut. I’ll be having a wee chat with him when I get back. In the meantime, I’ll be scheduling the swap for Friday, the day after I get back from the Snowbelt…..and I don’t care if it’s supposed to be 17 degrees. Those damn snows are going on!!

Dine and shop…..

Leave it to the Distillery District and one of its businesses to come up with a creative way to get us off our asses and dress up for dinner OUT. Considered an event space that sells clothing, Gotstyle will serve a private four-course dinner and combine it with a fashion show, each outfit paired with the individual courses. Restricted to just 10 people, either your family bubble or a “friends” bubble, it’s a great evening out, and with Christmas now looming, the perfect way to spend those holiday dollars. Read all about it by clicking the link.

Why does it seem I’m promoting this particular spot? If the proper protocols are followed, what Gotstyle is offering,  or anyone with a similar idea, shouldn’t be a problem. According to data presented to the Ford government last Thursday, October 29, “The number of outbreaks associated with restaurants and bars since Aug. 1 appears to be much lower than the percentage associated with schools, child-care centres or long-term care facilities.” The CTV article goes on to say, “In Toronto, restaurants, bars and clubs accounted for 14 per cent of outbreaks between Aug. 1 and Oct. 24, compared to long-term care (18 per cent) and schools and daycares (22 per cent). Gyms and sports accounted for roughly three per cent of Toronto outbreaks within that time period.

The difference becomes more drastic in other hot spots. In Peel Region, restaurants accounted for about three per cent of all outbreaks compared to grocery and retail (19 per cent), schools and daycares (20 per cent), and industrial settings (22 per cent).

Restaurants and bars accounted for eight per cent of outbreaks in York and two per cent of outbreaks in Ottawa since Aug. 1.”

Read the full piece here

It certainly begs the question, what the f#$k is going on and why is government targeting bars, restaurants and fitness facilities when they seem to have much larger problems elsewhere? We are losing far too many businesses whose survival relies on indoor services. The ripple effect has been both devastating and astronomical, affecting everyone from performers to wait staff to cleaners to suppliers…..’nuff said.

New Music…..

Alt/rock group Monowhales have released a new single/video that hits all the right buttons. Now a trio with the departure of keyboardist Holly Jamieson, they have lost none of their energy, chutzpah or originality. A force to be reckoned with, the extremely hard-working, inventive and creative Sally Schaar, Jordan Circosta and Zach Zanardo will be performing live at the El Mocambo on November 27 & 27. Addictive….hell ya! For info and tickets, click here Really, don’t miss a chance to watch these guys perform!

All or Nothing – Monowhales

Canadian “retro” blues band Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar are about to release a new album on November 20. Entitled The Reckless One, the name, for some reason, reminds me of Martin herself. A controlled reckless, but a “reckless” that is willing to take calculated risks; an artist who’s released five albums, has been nominated for 13 Maple Blues Awards and was up for a Juno for Best Album of the Year in 2018. Sharp as a tack, Martin has a wonderfully wry sense of humor with a take no prisoners’ attitude and voice that can knock your socks off. Her low purr and deep bluesy voice is like dragging silk over raw sugar one minute and belting out in the perfect “pop/country” voice the next. You can almost feel something ready to explode when you see Martin and the band perform live. The front cover artwork depicts a brightly coloured grenade. Need I say more?

Don’t Have to Be – Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

This doesn’t exactly fall under the category of “new music” but I’m adding it anyway. A friend posted the following song by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, one I had long forgotten about; a beautiful piano piece. One of my favourite prog rock bands, I first saw ELP in London, Ontario at Wonderland Gardens. It was the first time I’d ever seen a gong used…..and a rather large one at that. Fabulous performance, I followed them from that day forward. I’m not sure what my favourite album is, but there are so many individual pieces I love.

Close to Home – Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Expansive, grandiose, ELP filled the stadium or concert hall, not with people but with glorious sound. Surrounding you and enveloping you, their music was pure imagery and always took you on a journey.

Blue Moon – Frank Sinatra

Changing Times – Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Epitaph – King Crimson

I’ve Got a Feeling – Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

Songs for Lovers – Dirty Loops

Songs for Lovers, Pink Power – Dirty Loops

The famous Canadian music/comedy duo MacLean & MacLean (brothers Gary and Blain) performed across Canada from 1972 – 1998, recording seven albums along the way. One of the tours was with the newly solo Burton Cummings and Chris was the photographer. Ghost was written by David MacLean, son of Gary MacLean. All three of Gary’s sons work in the music business and perform as the MacLean Brothers, following in their father’s footsteps.

Ghost – David MacLean

Sacrifice – Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

Propaganda – MacLean Brothers

Blue Moon – Billie Holiday

Stay healthy. Stay safe.



Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

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